After library arson, well-wishers donate books, notch up double the number destroyed

Less than a month after a popular library in Malappuram district was torched by suspected arsonists, well-wishers have donated books with a vengeance, and the final tally is double the number destroyed in the fire.

On March 23, around 5,000 books were burnt in the AKG Memorial Library in Malappuram district’s BP Angadi. Two RSS workers have been arrested in connection with fire, which police suspect was an extension of the rivalry between local communist and RSS workers. The damage was to the tune of Rs 40 lakh.

A group of youngsters decided to replenish the library’s destroyed books and appealed to the public for help through a Facbook page called Book Collection. In no time, 5,000 books found their way to the library, and in less than a month, the number was double that.

“The destruction of a library was painful, especially for book lovers. We decided to form a group and selected two volunteers from each district to collect books,” Julius Mirshad, IT professional and a coordinator for the group, told The News Minute.

People donated from everywhere – residents of Gulf countries, the UK and US, JNU, Hyderabad University, Delhi University, and also from rural areas.

“The response was overwhelming. Within two weeks, we were able to collect the number of books which were destroyed,” he said, adding that more are expected as cargo ships from West Asia are yet to reach India’s shores.

Mirshad also said that besides the two volunteers identified by the group, many students and college teachers also helped collect books from villages and interior towns. They took a vehicle and just went from place to place.

On Sunday, seven vehicles arrived in Tirur to hand over the books and local people organized an event to celebrate the achievement. The event was inaugurated by prominent writer TD Ramakrishnan.

The AKG Memorial Library was established in 1980 was a major cultural centre for the locality. It also had a wide collection of musical instruments, according to Mirshad. Authorities plan to expand the library to accommodate the unexpected number of donations.